Thursday, October 3, 2002

A cold... how common...

It's been a while since I had an actual cold. Long enough that the Robitussin in the bathroom cabinet tasted a little off. Long enough that I don't have any Kleenex around, and the Kleenex I do have is all dusty. Long enough that I wonder if previous colds felt quite so bad.

The worse part is that, whenever I have told someone I have a cold, they respond by telling me how many people they know who have colds right now. Apparently I have a very populist immune system: so long as everybody is getting this cold, I might as well get it, too. Not that I'd want to be sicker than necessary, but couldn't I get something that not everybody has? Something with a little cache, a little elegance? Consumption, maybe?

Today I did something I almost never do: I left work because I was sick. In fact, if there hadn't been an extremely important task that only I know how to do, I wouldn't even have gone in today. So I dragged myself down to the office, did the one really important task that only I know how to do, and while I was waiting for all of the elements of that task to come together, I did another task that was rather less important but also which only I know how to do. I've been considering the number of tasks at my office that only I know how to do. The sense of power that gives me, it's sort of dizzying. Or is that just the cold?

So after doing these two tasks that only I know how to do, I went home, put on my red plaid flannel clown-sized pajama pants and a fluffy red Mossimo sweatshirt (along with the white t-shirt and white socks I was already wearing), pulled my comforter and two pillows off the bed (they're all burgundy), grabbed my (mink-brown) teddy bear Antinöus, and built a nest on the living room sofa (which is also burgundy... I just want you to get a good mental picture, with colors and all). Then I got a glass of orange juice, a pot of Earl Grey, a mug of beef broth, a few soda crackers and some mixed nuts, and nestled in with the remote control for an afternoon of dozing and television. I got up every now and again to drain various fluids, and grabbed another juice or broth or tea, returning immediately to the afternoon television.

Damn, I have to go pee again. Gonna wash that cold right out of my system. I'll be right back.

So, a few observations about today's television adventures. There's this show on A&E called America's Castles, which is terribly interesting as it explores and documents the great mansions of the Gilded Age and the monumental egos that built them. Unfortunately, the writer of that show drives me absolutely bug-fucky. He (or she... the narrator is male, so I think of the writer as male) incessantly refers to architectural and decorative features of these houses in the past tense... all the while the thing to which he refers is still there, palpably and visibly existing in the present tense. You cannot say that "the elegant marble fireplace graced the north wall of Mrs. Oelrich's ballroom" when, while that elegant marble fireplace no doubt did in the past grace the north wall of Mrs. Oelrich's ballroom, it is still gracing the north wall of Mrs. Oelrich's ballroom, and will continue to do so for quite some time. I mean, it's right there where I can see it for chrissakes! I hate shoddy syntax in documentaries! Gah!

I've gotten hooked into this season's Real World on MTV. I ordinarily don't follow these shows very well, since they tend to be rather falsely dramatic and a little too picture-perfect. But for some reason, perhaps the unreality of the setting (The Palms, Las Vegas) paired with the all-too-realistic housemates, I just find the whole thing fascinating. The strange herd mentalities have sprung up, odd personal ticks have revealed themselves, and some seriously interesting background info has emerged. The camera crew and director of photography have created an interesting blend of reality and visual perfection that is quite intoxicating. The hermetically sealed atmospheres of Vegas penthouses and nightclubs and casinos give the people this intriguing hothouse aura of caged animals, these seven kids living together with really no privacy whatsoever, never really going outside or doing things that normal people do. It's quite amazing to watch.

I've even developed a lot of sympathy for one of the housemates, Trishelle. When I first saw her in the season opener, with her much-too-fabulous hair and corny Southern accent and scary pageant-ready smile, I was ready to write her off as uninteresting, just another giggling debutante goody-goody, with perhaps a touch of Baroque Christianity and a tendency to shock easily and roll her eyes a lot. But she's emerged as this fascinating Jeckyll-and-Hyde who turns into a supersensual slut as soon as she's had a couple of cocktails, which she often does have, and then spends hours of autoflagellation and apology when she remembers all the fun she had while she was loaded. So then one day she calls her sister to talk to her about this night of drunken escapades she just woke up from, where she made out with the slutty guy that all the girls are attracted to as well as with one of the other girls. And apparently the sister told the father, who came down on Trishelle rather heavily as regards "bringing shame to her family."

Now that's some fucked up shit, right there. No wonder she has to get loaded to have a little fun. I wanted to crawl right into the screen and give Trishelle a big ol' drag-queen hug (careful not to get foundation on her clothes) and assure her that anyone who can feel shame vicariously via the perfectly innocent if misguided actions of another person is not worth bothering about. Shame is just another form of control, and she's a grownup who doesn't have to put up with bullshit from Big Daddy.

Anyway, that's what has been keeping my mind off my stuffy head and and achy joints and congested chest and sweaty-chilly skin. That, and the tea and juice and broth. Damn, I have to pee again! Gotta go flush some more toxins down the toilet.

So I'm feeling rather a lot better now than I did earlier today. I think maybe a good night's sleep, and I'll have this thing licked. Just in time for me to clean out the garage. Yippee. We have a Big Garbage Day next week (in which our local scavenger company will pick up anything we leave piled less than three feet high on the driveway strip, which translates into 270 cubic feet of trash), and that's the only time of year we can clean anything without having to take it to some dump later on.

Yay! I just can't wait! I love cleaning the garage and basement! I love carting 270 cubic yards of trash out of the house! I wish I could do it every day!

That wasn't very convincing, was it? I'll have to work on my acting skills.

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